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10:27 am: party, party, party
One of the local elementary schools (in fact, the one that Teddy will attend in a year and a half or so) had a fundraiser at the community center yesterday.

Teddy and I went, leaving Peter to his own devices at home.

It was... crowded. Very, very crowded. I don't do well in crowds. Teddy doesn't do well in crowds. But we did fine. Really.

I suppose you never really know what you're going to get, shoving hundreds of kids and their parents and the event organizers and a bounce house and a giant screen for WII and a DJ all into one (large) room, except noise.

And there was noise. But it wasn't that bad (she wrote with rousing enthusiasm). Teddy was very excited about the bounce house. We got there shortly after the festivities began, so he was able to shed his shoes and scramble in right away, without having to wait in line. Whereupon he would. not. stand. up.

"I do not like this!"

I was able to persuade him to move away from the door, but only a little way. He hung in for about 2 minutes, then cautiously made his way back out again.

When Peter picked us up, Teddy claimed that "a little bit of the bounce house was my favorite."

Really? News to me.

His next interest was getting his face painted. He's never had it done before, so I was curious about how it would work out. He selected a unique graphic: both an ice cream cone and a baseball, combined for a baseball ice cream cone (with the baseball resting comfortably in the cone on his right cheek). He loved it.

If only we hadn't had to wait in line for 30 minutes to get it done. He was very patient; I was not. The woman behind me was waiting with her two daughters. I think her impatience actually helped me, because I felt, I dunno, justified, I guess, and her anger allowed me to be calm. We were both annoyed because it was clear when we arrived that there was one line for three face painters. We chatted a bit (her younger daughter will be in Teddy's kindergarten class; she knows a lot of boys who will be in the class).

...and then IT happened. You know IT: the inevitable Conflict Arising from the Lack of Logistical Support. In other words, people started going directly to the other face painters, without standing in line. Somehow, there was a shift to more-than-one-line from no-really-just-one, and we drew the short straw (by which I mean the long line, which just goes to show you that mixing metaphors is dangerous). And the woman behind me was Very Angry about IT.

I don't think anyone deliberately cut the line (though one mother definitely lost all sympathy when she started whining that "there were a half-dozen people in front of us! we had to wait 10 minutes!" when we'd been waiting 25). I don't think it's the painters' fault (though it certainly didn't help that two were high-school students who were clearly overwhelmed by everything except the paint).

But just as it cheeses me off when a store clerk opens a new register and says "next in line," then watches idly as people from the back of other lines scoot up to the front (is it so hard to catch someone's eye and say "I believe you're next, sir"?), it cheesed me off that there were neither signs nor people to help with the logistics.

"Form one line" (or "form lines for each table" or whatever) on the sign, or from a person with an official name-tag, would take care of the problem.

This always seems to happen at these events, and inevitably some people feel ripped off.

Oh well.

In any case, Teddy loved his face painting, loved the pizza, loved the cookie, loved the dancing, loved the event.

And I liked it just fine.

It was funny to see how Teddy responds. He's so shy at first, yet will ease his way into things, given time. And he describes himself as having "so much fun," when he crawled in obvious fear in the bounce house, or stood completely still amongst the gyrating hoards of macarena- and hokey-pokey-dancing children (99% considerably older and larger than he).

As long as he's having fun, I'm cool with it. I wonder, though, how I can help him adapt faster when things are time-limited. They did the hokey-pokey twice, and he actually knows the hokey-pokey, but he was just getting to the point where he was ready to start putting appendages in and out and shaking them all about* when it ended.

Dunno. But I'm going to think about it.

* That might have confused him, as he's used to swimming the hokey-pokey, in which one splashes all about.

Current Location: Longmeadow
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative


[User Picture]
Date:January 25th, 2009 08:31 pm (UTC)

Dd's Party...

will in in Boston's Chinatown, during Chinese New Year... it will be crowded... fun, good food, lots of family and friends, but crowded. I hope that will work for you two...

And yes, how hard is it to control crowds? To have an 'ambassador' keeping the slow lines entertained and moving along so as not to cheese off happy participants? Piss off the wrong person and no one shows up next year.

Cool face painting...
[User Picture]
Date:January 26th, 2009 03:00 pm (UTC)

Re: Dd's Party...

Dd's party will be great, I'm sure. (1) People we know and love. (2) Food we like.

You're so right about an ambassador. It's not as if toddlers and their parents are particularly unruly. No one is really trying to cut lines (I don't think). They're just trying to cope in the midst of all the noise and confusion and :ahem: lack of information.

And if they can't afford an ambassador or can't get a volunteer (really? I don't quite believe that), it takes all of 10 seconds to write "form one line" or "separate lines for each table" on the sign. That at least gives self-policers something to which they can refer for authority.
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